Citing Olympic snub, Savard ready to prove he belongs

Canada could probably ice two medal-worthy teams this coming February in Vancouver, so there were bound to be cases made for certain players that didn't make the initial cut.

When Team Canada announced its roster for last month's Olympic orientation camp, one prominent name was a notable omission: Boston Bruins center Marc Savard(notes).

Savard spoke yesterday at the Bruins annual golf tournament, and expressed his disappointment at not being one of the chosen 46 that met in Calgary.

From Joe Haggerty's Big Bad Blog at WEEI.com:

"I was pretty upset about it," said Savard, who then cast his head down toward the ground as he talked about it. "I feel that I had a chance to at least go to the camp. I didn't really come out and say anything. I had a lot of calls for a couple weeks after that. It's something I didn't want to talk about. I was pretty mad about it. I've had to prove myself over and over again. I'm hoping to get off to a good start. I still haven't counted myself out, so I guess that's all that matters."

Despite not being selected initially, Savard still has an opportunity to join Team Canada in Vancouver, as players can earn their way on to the squad with their play in the first few months of the NHL season before the Olympic rosters are announced.

Can Savard put up the numbers to force Steve Yzerman and Co. to reconsider?

Matt Kalman of The Bruins Blog makes the case for Savard not only wearing the hotly debated new Canadian jerseys as well as securing himself a new deal with the Bruins:

"Savard, who would be a long shot to make the squad without having attended the orientation camp, has averaged more than 87 points per season over the last three seasons he has played for Boston. If he starts this coming season on a similar or better pace, he'll not only make his case for a spot on the Olympic team but also make an argument for a contract extension. This is scheduled to be the final year of Savard's deal, which would leave him as an unrestricted free agent after the year. However, he doesn't expect any distraction will come from being in his last year of his deal."

The chances of Savard putting up monster numbers before the Olympic break are favorably doubled with the diminutive pivot playing with a chip on his shoulder and the lure of gaining a raise from his $5 million salary come July 1.

As Armchair Bluejay pointed out, Savard fans might point out that Andy MacDonald received an invite. So too did Derek Roy(notes) and Jordan Staal(notes). Was Savard's lack of international experience one reason for the non-invite? Not so, said Team Canada GM Steve Yzerman during a conference call after the roster was announced in July. Yzerman said he was looking for "different types of players, not necessarily guys who were leading their teams in scoring but guys who can fill different roles".

Selecting the 23-man Canadian Olympic roster won't be easy for Yzerman and he'll be under extreme pressure with the Games held at home. If Team Canada fails in their bid for gold, you can be sure that every roster selection will be scrutinized and names like Savard (if he's left off in the end) will be brought up in argument by armchair quarterbacks across Canada.

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